How Google Analytics underreports Twitter referrals

You can’t control what link someone uses to share your content on Twitter, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you know how effective your tweets are.

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1. Browsers don’t always provide referring URLs. Twitter reporting relies on having accurate and complete referring URL data. 2. You can’t rely on campaign tracking codes in social media. For paid media programs, you provide the URLs with tracking strings that your analytics solution recognizes. On social media, most traffic will come from other people’s sharing of your content. You don’t control the URL that is shared. 3. Other people’s campaign codes interfere with your reporting. Many social media tools, including Buffer, one of my favorites, automatically append their own campaign codes. In Google Analytics this overrides referring URLs completely, and it is surprisingly common.

Here is an example of No. 3: Two weeks ago, Mike Volpe shared one of my posts on Twitter, but visits from his Tweet aren’t reflected in my Google Analytics reporting. Here’s his Tweet:

The Worst B2B Spammers on Twitter via @wittlake

— Mike Volpe (@mvolpe) November 7, 2013

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